The move towards a more green, eco-friendly (and human-friendly) philosophy in the food industry is a long and gradual process. Especially in the case of big, profit-oriented fast food chains, it may seem like any serious change for the better of the planet would be pretty much a pipe dream. But it does not mean that nothing can be improved in the matter, nor that we should not strive for change – because we certainly should. Recently, McDonald’s released a vegan burger in their restaurants in Norway – something many thought would never happen! It is a small step but one in the right direction and proves that fast food chains can make progress and improve.

One of the most burning issues when it comes to the workings of restaurant chains is their reliance on plastic. Single-use conveniences such as packaging and cutlery, are produced and given away with food on a massive scale. In the light of our immense plastic waste problem, this overflow certainly needs to come to an end – the sooner the better.

Globally, we produce 300 million tons of plastic every year. Around 8.8 million tons of it gets dumped into the oceans. There, our plastic debris, which does not biodegrade and stays around virtually forever, becomes life-threatening to countless species of marine animals and seabirds. Already, 700 marine species are faced with extinction because of the plastic they ingest and get entangled in – and that number can only get worse if our relationship with plastic and its disposal does not change dramatically.

Plastic straws are among the most ubiquitous single-use items and the quantities we throw away, on a daily basis, is unbelievable. Every single day, we produce 500 million straws and most of them end up in the trash and then move on to pollute our planet and harm wildlife. We’ve seen up close instances of this from the viral video that showed a sea turtle having a straw removed from its nose, a both painful and totally preventable feat.

A number of restaurants are now finally waking up to this problem and introducing a ban on plastic straws in their locales or offering straws only to those customers who specifically ask for them. It is time those steps were taken by the most popular (and, thus, the most harmful) fast food chains – like McDonald’s.

With 14,000 U.S. locations alone, this particular chain could make a HUGE difference for marine animals by simply ditching plastic straws. This call is one taken up by activists on Care2 and you can join them by clicking here to sign a petition and urge McDonald’s to make a change for the better and stop using plastic straws!

To learn how to limit the use of plastics in your everyday life, check out One Green Planet’s #CrushPlastic campaign!

Image source: andreas160578/Pixabay